Columbus Considers Its First Community Land Trust

Citing a dire housing situation for low-income renters, Columbus, Ohio is considering its first community land trust. The aim is to create housing alternatives for low-income residents of revitalizing neighborhoods.

March 4, 2019, 2:00 PM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Columbus, Ohio skyline reflected in the Scioto River

Shutterstock / Shutterstock

According to a 2017 report, Jared Brey writes, rents are rising faster than incomes in Columbus, Ohio, while the number of residents in poverty is going up faster than the total population. "On top of all that, more [than] 10,000 housing units built in Columbus with federal subsidies have affordability requirements that expire in the next five years."

The City of Columbus and Franklin County may join forces to develop permanently affordable for-sale housing on vacant lots owned by their land banks. The pilot community land trust would start out small: $3.8 million and just 30 or 40 homes to begin with.

The community land trust would build on the land banks' solid anti-blight record. "In the last five years, according to a recent study, the city and county land banks combined have demolished 1,600 blighted buildings, helped find new uses for 1,300 properties, and reduced the overall level of vacancy in the city by 18 percent,' Brey writes.

Backers of the project say it will preserve the ability of mixed-income residents to buy (or, in reality, long-term lease) houses in neighborhoods that are revitalizing. Meanwhile, Columbus voters may also approve a $1 billion bond package in the upcoming May 7 general election that includes $50 million for affordable housing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 in Next City

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